Institutions

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How does your text communicate information and ideas about institutions and individual experience?

Institutions consist of protest, compliance and enforcement. Sometimes institutions harm the individual and sometimes they affect the individual in a positive way. The two texts, Shawshank Redemption (film) and Scales of Justice (television drama), both demonstrate this well, through various techniques such as narrating throughout the films. Both texts are about institutions in the criminal justice system. The text, Shawshank Redemption, portrays institutions as having a negative impact on the individual. In particular, it focuses on the strict elements of institutional life within prisons. These include set routines and structures that must be followed by the inmates. Schedules are enforced. A bell rings, doors open, prisoners step out and line up for morning head count. Enforcement and compliance are essential in the institution. Throughout the film one of the main characters ‘Red” is narrating, this communicates a different perspective of the effect institutions have on individuals. He expresses this when he says, “I’m telling you, these walls are funny. First you hate them. Then you get used to them. Enough time passes, it gets so you depend on them. That’s institutionalised.” This quote shows a negative impact institutions can have on an individual, instead of wanting to be back in society they become dependent on set routines. The film also communicates the idea that once an individual has been institutionalised for a certain period of time, it becomes almost impossible for them to adapt back into society when they are released from prison. One way this is communicated is by the inmate Brooks’ protest against leaving Shawshank. Brooks has been in Shawshank for an extended amount of time, prison life and routine is now all he seems to know. It becomes obvious to the audience that even he feels he will not be able to adapt back into...
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